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Delta Dental Grants $125,000 to Community Dental Clinics; Funding Benefits the Working Poor in Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia.

Business Editors/Health/Medical Writers

MECHANICSBURG, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 23, 2003

The affiliated Delta Dental Plans of Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia announced today the award of more than $125,000 during 2003 in support of community dental clinics and programs that serve the working poor. The pledge was allocated in 11 individual grants ranging from $5,000 to $40,000.

Nine of the grants are to Pennsylvania-based clinics, where Delta Dental of Pennsylvania covers nearly 2 million enrollees, including 19,000 children of low income families enrolled in the Pennsylvania Children's Health Insurance Program. The clinics are based in Bethlehem, Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Pottstown, Warren, West Chester and Williamsport.

Additional grants have been awarded in states where the affiliated Delta Plans of New York and West Virginia jointly cover another 800,000 enrollees. The grants were awarded to clinics and/or programs based in Schenectady, New York and Charleston, West Virginia.

Delta officials say the grant program earmarks funds for community clinics with established track records for providing dental care to adults and children who are among the working poor -- those with household incomes that are often too high to qualify for various state- and federal-subsidized insurance programs, yet still too low to assure that all their oral health needs can be met.

"We are targeting dental clinics that serve people who we know are among the least likely to have dental insurance, and yet are most likely to have an alarmingly high incidence of dental disease," said Marilynn Belek, DMD, Delta Dental's chief dental officer. "Dental disease is rampant, affecting countless families who slip through the safety net that both government entities and many philanthropic organizations are struggling to maintain. We intend for these additional resources, though quite modest given the scope of the problem, to at least help extend that safety net a little farther."

Delta Dental's regional office in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, near Harrisburg, administers Delta Dental programs in Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Delaware. These Mid-Atlantic Deltas are not-for-profit health care service corporations under the shared management of a single holding company. They also are members of the national Delta Dental Plans Association, which covers 43 million Americans in all 50 states.

For a fuller description of the clinics/programs receiving grants in 2003 from Delta Dental, go to Delta's online press room at www.deltadentalca.org, or e-mail the company's public affairs office at media@delta.org.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Dec 23, 2003
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